Wesfarmers has guaranteed its workers will remain employed and fully paid at chains such as Bunnings, Kmart and Officeworks during Melbourne’s six-week coronavirus lockdown.
All permanent staff in the city would have the assurance even if there was no work for them.
Casuals who work 12 hours a week or more will be paid for their regular hours during the six weeks.
The decision comes after most retailers in Melbourne were forced to close their doors, and many other types of businesses, as part of tough Stage 4 restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
The federal government has revised its JobKeeper wage subsidy program, mainly due to Victoria’s plight, and will relax criteria after September.
Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said many of its workers would not be eligible for JobKeeper.
He said while Wesfarmers could not eliminate uncertainty for staff, it could reduce concerns of a sudden loss of household income from the Stage 4 restrictions.
The group’s outlets will continue to trade throughout the shutdown, via click and collect orders. Only Bunnings can still serve customers, and then only tradespeople.
Wesfarmers has 30,000 staff across Victoria.